An Elusive Comet

Last Tuesday, after sunset, a friend and I stood on a levee just south of town hunting for Comet C/2011L4 (PanSTARRS). This was the night the comet was just a few degrees to the left of a thin-sliver crescent moon. The comet hunt was a bust, or so it appeared, because of all the clouds in the western sky.  I made a few exposures anyway, when the moon appeared, just briefly. Much to my surprise, when I looked at those pictures a few days later, the comet really was there.  My friend and I didn’t see it, but the camera did.

Comet PanSTARRS C/2011L4

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Comet PanSTARRS C/2011L4

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Comet PanSTARRS C/2011L4
These exposures, at 20 to 30 seconds, were long enough to see a little movement in the moon and comet, so these objects are a bit blurred. But the comet’s tail was about as dim as the shaded side of the moon — impossible to see among wispy clouds with the naked eye.

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Tim Messick Photography • Graphics
Copyright © 2013 Tim Messick. All rights reserved.

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About Tim Messick

Photographer, cartographer, and botanist/naturalist. Home is in Davis, California. Home-away-from-home is the eastern Sierra Nevada. Compiling a flora of the Bodie Hills.
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